Approximately 150 million people worldwide suffer of severe asthma, and some of them do not respond optimally to the treatment with inhaled corticosteroids. A new asthma cure has been released recently.
It is a biological treatment that will help patients with moderate to severe allergic asthma. The medication by the name of Xolair (omalizumab), which is manufactured by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., has been approved in the US. by the FDA, and by October 2004 clinical trials with Xolair for treating peanut allergies were underway. The medication differs from older treatments because it addresses the dysfunctional immune processes, which are at the root of allergic asthma. It is administered as a subcutaneous injection, and it has to be given only every two to four weeks. Health Canada has approved the drug for the treatment of adults and adolescents (12 years of age and older), and it is anticipated that respirologists and allergists will treat patients who have moderate to severe persistent asthma and whose asthma symptoms are inadequately controlled with the inhaled corticosteroids.
Comments: Some of the more severe asthma reactions are mediated by Ig-E antibodies , which in a person with a ragweed allergy, are significantly elevated with respect to specific antibodies against ragweed pollen. In patients with a severe peanut allergy specific antibodies against peanut antigens are found. With exposure to the allergic substance severe asthma reactions (status asthmaticus) can be caused in these patients.
The significance of this new therapy is that the hyperreactive immune response of the patient gets modified and the cascade of inflammatory sustances is being toned down. The results are less airway hyper-reactivity and less likelihood for severe asthma attacks in those patients who need it most. However, as the immune system is significantly altered with this drug, there serious complications have been described such as skin rashes, heart disease, joint and leg pains, respiratory tract infections, and even cancers in 0.5% of patients. Discuss with your doctor whether or not this medication would be useful for you.
More info about asthma: http://nethealthbook.com/lung-disease/asthma-introduction/
Reference: The Medical Post, January 18, 2005, page 4
Last edited October 27, 2014